Amber Heard, Johnny Depp settle defamation case: ‘This is not an act of concession’

Two separate photos of a man in tinted glasses and a woman with braided blond hair
Johnny Depp, left, and Amber Heard appear in a courtroom for closing arguments at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Virginia in May 2022.
(Steve Helber / Associated Press)

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have settled their dueling defamation cases more than six months after a Virginia jury found for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor in the exes’ turbulent trial.

In a lengthy statement shared Monday on Instagram, Heard explained her decision not to pursue the appeal she filed shortly after the jury awarded her $2 million and Depp more than $10 million in June. The Daily Mail reported that Depp and Heard reached a settlement in which Heard’s insurance company will pay Depp $1 million — an amount Depp’s team corroborated Monday in a statement.

“After a great deal of deliberation I have made a very difficult decision to settle the defamation case brought against me by my ex husband in Virginia,” Heard announced Monday. “It’s important for me to say that I never chose this. I defended my truth and in doing so my life as I knew it was destroyed.


“The vilification I have faced on social media is an amplified version of the ways in which women are re-victimised when they come forward. Now I finally have an opportunity to emancipate myself from something I attempted to leave over six years ago and on terms I can agree to. I have made no admission. This is not an act of concession. There are no restrictions or gags with respect to my voice moving forward.”

In a statement provided to The Times, Depp attorneys Benjamin Chew and Camille Vasquez said they are “pleased to formally close the door on this painful chapter for Mr. Depp, who made clear throughout this process that his priority was about bringing the truth to light.”

“The jury’s unanimous decision and the resulting judgement in Mr. Depp’s favor against Ms. Heard remain fully in place,” the statement continued. “The payment of $1M — which Mr. Depp is pledging and will (actually) donate to charities — reinforces Ms. Heard’s acknowledgement of the conclusion of the legal system’s rigorous pursuit for justice.”

During their highly publicized defamation trial, which was free to stream live on CourtTV and elsewhere, the former husband and wife traded disturbing allegations of domestic violence. Both actors received a mix of criticism and support on social media; however, Heard faced significantly more online harassment than Depp.

“I make this decision having lost faith in the American legal system, where my unprotected testimony served as entertainment and social media fodder,” Heard continued in Monday’s statement.


“I exhausted almost all my resources in advance of and during a trial in which I was subjected to a courtroom in which abundant, direct evidence that corroborated my testimony was excluded and in which popularity and power mattered more than reason and due process.

“In the interim, I was exposed to a type of humiliation that I simply cannot relive. Even if my U.S. appeal is successful, the best outcome would be a re-trial where a new jury would have to consider the evidence again. I simply cannot go through that for a third time.”

Amber Heard is moving forward with her efforts to appeal the verdict that favored ex-husband Johnny Depp.

July 21, 2022

In July, a Virginia judge rejected Heard’s mistrial claim before the “Justice League” actor made her appeal accusing the court of making “errors that prevented a just and fair verdict.” Depp also appealed the Virginia verdict in an attempt to challenge the $2 million awarded to Heard.

On Monday, Heard pointed out that Depp lost his 2020 libel case in London after a justice ruled that “the great majority” of the assault allegations leveled against him by Heard had been “proved to the civil standard.”

“Time is precious and I want to spend my time productively and purposefully,” Heard said in her statement. “For too many years I have been caged in an arduous and expensive legal process, which has shown itself unable to protect me and my right to free speech. I cannot afford to risk an impossible bill — one that is not just financial, but also psychological, physical and emotional.

Amber Heard’s lengthy appeal of the defamation decision in favor of Johnny Depp was filed recently in Virginia. A panel of judges will weigh in next.

Dec. 5, 2022

“Women shouldn’t have to face abuse or bankruptcy for speaking her truth, but unfortunately it is not uncommon. In settling this case, I am also choosing the freedom to dedicate my time to the work that helped me heal after my divorce; work that exists in realms in which I feel seen, heard and believed and in which I know I can effect change. I will not be threatened, disheartened or dissuaded by what happened from speaking the truth. No one can and no one will take that from me. My voice forever remains the most valuable asset I have.”


Heard concluded her remarks by thanking her legal team and her supporters.

The dueling defamation cases between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard came to a simple end: She defamed him, but she won $2 million in her countersuit.

June 1, 2022

“I turn my attention to the growing support that I’ve felt and seen publicly in the months since trial, and the efforts that have been made to show solidarity with my story,” she said.

“Any survivor knows the ability to tell their story often feels like the only relief, and I cannot find enough words to tell you the hope your belief in me inspires, not just for me, but for all of you.”